Since 2001, Sensing Places has been designing, engineering, and distributing wearable technology – long before Google Glasses became a commercial reality. First used in a museum, our wearable technology uses a heads-ups augmented reality display mounted on headphones with integrated audio to give wearers a personalized video documentary of the paintings they are viewing.
By tracking the wearer’s location using tiny headphone sensors and IR beacons distributed around the space, the wearable narrates a live commentary of the objects the wearer is viewing without the need to push buttons on the device or read lengthy text descriptions on walls.
The La Scala Opera Theater exhibition, held at the M.I.T Museum in 2001, wanted their multimedia section to emphasize and bring to life Puccini’s iconographic material.
Sensing Places created a museum wearable aimed to lead a self-guided augmented reality tour for visitors to the exhibit. Using infrared, the wearable generated an audiovisual documentary as a function of the visitor’s interests. When the visitor observes a work of art, the enhanced reality device projects (virtually) on the museum wall and an audiovisual explains and illustrates the piece. It also used a private eye, or small monitor with SVGA- resolution clipped onto special earphones.
The main museum wearable features include:
Sound and Video: The wearable played Puccinian arias according to the specific room and showed an introductory videoclip to the works on display in the room.
Location Tracking: The wearable relied on an infrared emitter/receiver system to determine the visitor’s location in the exhibition space.
Portablity: The wearable consisted of a lightweight computer the size of a walkman put in a shoulder-bag or a pouch.